Journal of American History


Houses Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858

On October 7, 1858, Knox College, located in Galesburg, Illinois, hosted the fifth debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. The candidates spoke from a platform which had been erected at the east end of the college, while excited crowds looked on, and as a banner proclaiming support for Lincoln stretched overhead.
Courtesy New York Public Library.

The Lincoln-Douglas debates are often portrayed as a tale of delayed gratification: Abraham Lincoln lost his bid for the U.S. Senate in 1858, only to find the notoriety garnered from the debates hurling him toward election as the sixteenth president in 1860. In this telling, the ferocity and dynamics of the 1858 state election become subordinate to the national contest of 1860, while the connections between local and national politics in the antebellum period are lost altogether. Based on examinations of state vote ledgers, untapped newspaper accounts, and archival collections, Allen C. Guelzo re-creates those connections at multiple levels, offering new conclusions concerning who organized, who participated and who “won” in 1858. (pp. 391–417) Read online >

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Market Visions: Expenditure Surveys, Market Research, and Economic Planning in the New Deal

Joseph P. Goldberg and William T. Moye, The First Hundred Years of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Washington, 1985).

During the New Deal, the federal government commissioned a massive and innovative survey of family income and expenditures. Although left-leaning economists designed the 1935–1936 Study of Consumer Purchases to raise working-class “purchasing power” and guide federal economic planning, the project often proved more useful to market—research analysts. Thomas A. Stapleford shows how a shared desire for greater knowledge of consumer behavior and demand brought together left-wing advocates of centralized economics, advertising men, market researchers, and advertising agencies. The story of knowledge created by the federal government and its ramifications is an integral part of the history of the New Deal itself. (pp. 418–34) Read online >

The Strange Career of Annie Lee Moss: Rethinking Race, Gender, and McCarthyism

Senator Joseph McCarthy’s case against Annie Lee Moss rested on the testimony of Mary Stalcup Markward, shown here being sworn in on June 11, 1951, before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Markward’s reputation as a star witness in a series of government investigations of Communism in the Washington, D.C., area was seriously harmed by her role in the Moss investigation. Photograph by Arthur Ellis.  Courtesy Washington Post.
Courtesy Washington Post.

In 1954, Joseph McCarthy accused a Pentagon employee, Annie Lee Moss, of being a card-carrying member of the Communist party. Since then, Moss has become a cipher, caught between liberal commentators who portray her as a “little woman” of no significance, and conservative ideologues who see her very obscurity as a cover for Communist cunning. Drawing on Federal Bureau of Investigation files, government hearing transcripts, news reports, and letters from ordinary Americans, Andrea Friedman delves beneath the surface to show that, while Moss was never the “humble Negress” of myth, the intersections between Cold War politics, racial liberalism, and gendered notions of citizenship sharply constrained her ability to prove herself both a loyal citizen and an active defender of her own interests. (pp. 435–58) Read online >

You Can’t Go Home Again: Homesickness and Nostalgia in U.S. History

The most popular picture at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Breaking Home Ties showed a moment of departure and held great appeal for Americans beset with nostalgia. Thomas Hovenden, Breaking Home Ties. Oil on canvas, 1890.
Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art.

How have Americans coped with the long-standing patterns of mobility and restlessness that have shaped social life in the United States? Susan Matt uses a four-century-long history of homesickness and nostalgia to answer that question. Exploring the emotions of colonists, immigrants, internal migrants, slaves, and soldiers, as well as the changing nostrums of doctors and psychologists, this essay probes the subjective experience of restlessness and dislocation and its effects on social and cultural life. Once seen as a potentially fatal condition, homesickness is now regarded as a childhood weakness, easily overcome through early training. To leave one’s home and one’s past behind has become an imperative of modern life. This essay traces how, over several generations, Americans have learned to do so. (pp. 459–87) Read online >

Review Essay

Richard Lyman Bushman, the Story of Joseph Smith and Mormonism, and the New Mormon History

Jan Shipps, herself a leading contributor to Mormon historiography, critiques a major achievement of the new Mormon history, Richard Lyman Bushman’s Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. In the latter half of the twentieth century, Mormonism tentatively entered the religious mainstream in the United States. At the same time, as a cohort of young church members earned doctorates at reputable graduate schools outside the Mormon culture region, they launched an intellectual movement that aimed to contextualize Mormon religious history. Their work—especially Bushman’s—suggest the potential defects and strengths of history written by sophisticated scholars committed to a cause. (pp. 488–506) Read online >

What’s New in Morman History: A Response to Jan Shipps

In Richard Lyman Bushman’s response to Jan Shipps, he situates his work within two intellectual currents: the new Mormon history and Mormon apologetics. (pp. 507–510) Read online >

Putting Religion on the Map

In a 1961 article, the geographer Wilbur Zelinsky divided the United States into seven distinct “religious regions” and five “subregions.” Nearly half a century later, a set of researchers, led by Mark Silk and Andrew Walsh, have adapted this rubric for the Religion by Region series. Reviewing the eight-volume series, Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp highlights both the procedural differences between Zelinsky’s project and the newer one and the assumptions underlying the analytical creation of regions in a way valuable to scholars. Although intended for a general audience, the series will benefit all those with an eye to the geographical and religious diversity of the nation. (pp. 515–19) Read online >

Book Reviews

Sept. 2007, Vol. 94 No. 2

Alphabetical by the last name of the book's first author or editor.


Web site Reviews

Web site reviews are available without a subscription.

  • The Dolley Madison Digital Edition; and The Dolley Madison Project, by Robert P. Watson (pp. 658–59) Read online > Read online >
  • Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850–1920, by Daniel Pope (pp. 660–61) Read online >
  • Twentieth-Century Girls: Coming of Age in the Twentieth Century, Stories from Minnesota and Beyond, by Miriam Forman-Brunell (pp. 661) Read online >
  • Built in America: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record, 1933–Present, by Carl Lounsbury (pp. 661–62) Read online >
  • Invincible Cities, by Robert O. Self (pp. 662–63) Read online >

Editor’s Annual Report, 2006–2007

Letters to the Editor


Recent Scholarship

Browse “Recent Scholarship” listing >

Recent Scholarship is available as a searchable database, Recent Scholarship Online >

cover image

On the cover:

Calvert Vaux designed this model cottage, an example of the idealized image of home popular in the nineteenth century. A. J. Downing, Cottage Residences; or A Series of Designs for Rural Cottages and Cottage Villas and Their Gardens and Grounds Adopted to North America, See Susan J. Matt, “You Can’t Go Home Again: Homesickness and Nostalgian U.S. History,” p. 459.

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